Most people are smoking electronic cigarettes – this is called vaping. The practice is slowly gaining popularity and employers need to come up with regulations and policies that will be used to regulate the use of e-cigs at the potential procurement workplace. They need to know there are non-smokers who might be affected when they are exposed to too much e-cig fumes. Here is a deep analysis of all the key points an organization should consider when coming up with policies that will regulate the use of e-cigs at the place of work.
Despite its popularity there is still a divide on opinion. There are still people who are not convinced that the e-cig is a healthy alternative to the traditional cigarettes. These are the people who claim that that they are unsafe and they are poorly regulated.
There is a very clear Law regulating conventional smoking at your place of work – in the UK. The Law states that the smoking of cigarettes in any enclosed place is forbidden, be it private or public, is banned. This is a law that is extended even to your workplace. In places like Wales and England, if you breach the smoking law you may face very heavy penalties. If you are an employer or a manager, you have to display easy to notice no smoking signs.
You should also make the necessary steps to ensure that your staff adhere to the stipulated rules. Not only the staff, also your customers and any the general public. You should not allow anyone to smoke in the building. It is the same thing in Scotland – there was a law that declared workplace and public places smoke free.
The problem with e-cig is that they do not fall in the description that is given by most health acts. It actually falls out of the legal description that us provided by the acts. This means they are not covered by the legal ban of smoking them in enclosed areas – including the workplace. This leaves the responsibility entirely on the hands of the employer to come up with policies that will regulate its use.
Different authorities have different ways to deal with this e-cig problem. The board of San Francisco voted unanimously to burn the use of e-cigs in enclosed places – be it public or private. However, this was not honored and there are coffee shops that were opened on the streets and people could buy e-cigs and smoke them in public without breaking the law. This is despite the smoking ban being there for the last 7 years.
In the present, e-cigs are regulated as general products. However there is a law that may be effective come May 2016. The law states if the e-cig containing 20mg/ml of nicotine will fall under the ban directive.
Experts’ concerns and views
Experts are divided on whether to declare the product safe or not. They say that the use of e-cig is safer than the use of traditional cigarettes, however, their use and the effect their have on the general public is not clear. They cannot guarantee the safety of the products. There are also studies that claim to have found toxins in the e-cigs – however the amounts of the toxins in them is lower than that found in traditional cigarettes.
There is a report from WHO that contradict the message that e-cigs can help you quit smoking. The reports calls more research to be done on the use of e-cigs and the overall effect they have on a person’s health. It also appoints out health concerns that you should be addressed immediately.
The reports goes ahead to recommend the ban of e-cig advertisements by manufacturers and the restriction of smoking them in restricted areas too. WHO also warns that E-cigs will expose more non-smokers to the effect of nicotine and some other toxins produced by the e-cigs.
The ACAS body come up with a guideline that will help people and organization to formulate effective Vaping policies. They have pointed out the most important key features you have to consider when formulating the policies. They also point out that the e-cig fall out of the legal smoking ban, hence it’s up to the employer to decide whether to allow the smoking of e-cig at the place of work. ACAS goes ahead to say, despite the chosen way to deal with the issue, the stipulated rules must be made clear.
You as the employer you have the freedom to decide whether to allow your employees to use the e-cigs at your place of work or ban them entirely as is the case with traditional cigarettes. There is a senior Policy Officer who admitted that e-cigs are a real dilemma to most employers and trade unions too. There are those who feel that the e-cigs are a healthy alternative to traditional smoking and there are those who want the smoking of e-cigs completely burned from the workplace.
TUC recommends that e-cigs be treated ad traditional cigarettes when you dealing with smoking restrictions at the workplace. TUC goes ahead to claim that e-cigs should not be used in any enclosed area because most of its health effects are not well known. They also want e-cig banned because it is confusing when people are seen “smoking” despite the smoking ban.
On the other hand ACAS claim that e-cigs are used to help smokers quit hence employers should put that into consideration when they are coming up with e-cig policies. They also want the employers to consider the effects that e-cigs may have on the health of the passive smokers. As an employer you should know the real effects of e-cig over a long time is not well known. Also having e-cigs at your workplace may make it unconducive to work in.
Smoking Policy Add on
ACAS recommend that an employer can add a paragraph about e-cigs on the already existing policy statement about alcohol, traditional cigarettes and other drugs. This should be in consultation with a few rules and regulations that are related to your workplace and employees. They also recommend that if you allow the use of e-cigs at your place of work, you should know the people who are likely to be smoking them.
ACAS also recommend if you allow smoking in your workplace, you should have a line management where permission has to be given for an employee to smoke. There should be signs that are well displayed of places one can enjoy their e-cig. There should also be sings of where smoking should be banned. Smokers should be made aware of all the rules that regulate smoking in the organization.
If you choose to burn smoking in your workplace, you should have a place that is specially set aside for people to smoke. However this can be a hard decision for the employer to make. TUC recommends coming up with a separate place where smokers can enjoy their smoke. However, if a smoker is using an e-cig to help himself quit smoking, it will make no sense sending them to a place where there are other smokers of traditional cigarettes.